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Sunday February 25th, 2024

Five arrested for smuggling foreign currency out of forex-crisis-hit Sri Lanka

ECONOMYNEXT – Five Sri Lankans were arrested on Saturday (29) by the Narcotics Division of the Sri Lanka Customs for attempting to smuggle foreign currency out of the country, a statement from the Customs Union said.

Sri Lanka is currently in the middle of one of the worst economic crises in the country’s history, compounded by a crippling foreign exchange shortage amid double-digit inflation after excessive money printing.

The five suspects were interrogated by the customs officials last night while attempting to board the EK-649 flight from Emirates Airlines to Dubai, UAE. Further investigations revealed a stash of foreign currency worth 25 million rupees hidden in the luggage.

The stash consisted of 95,000 US dollars, 18,000 Euros and 37,000 Saudi Riyals.

According to the Government Information Center website, any person can carry foreign currency worth up to 10,000 USD “in any form” out of the country. However, if the sum of money in currency notes exceed 5,000 USD, the entirety of the sum must be declared.

There is no limit to how much foreign currency one can bring into the country, but if the sum exceeds 15,000 USD, it must be declared to Customs.

Amid Sri Lanka’s worsening forex crisis, authorities are cracking down on individuals involved in currency smuggling and similar schemes, officials said.

In a related incident on January 20, Customs arrested five suspects for the attempted smuggling of foreign currency worth 42 million rupees to Dubai, UAE. The currency consisted of 22,300 US dollars, 63,500 Euros, 292,000 Saudi Riyals, 8,725 Sterling Pounds and 75,000 UAE Dirhams hidden inside luggage.

Investigations are under way into both incidents, Customs officials said. (Colombo/Jan30/2022)

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  1. Eri Claud says:

    Politicians involved in this currency smuggling. But it’s not coming out who are these politicians. One person can’t do these type of things. Might be a businessman who have influence by the government.

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  1. Eri Claud says:

    Politicians involved in this currency smuggling. But it’s not coming out who are these politicians. One person can’t do these type of things. Might be a businessman who have influence by the government.

Sri Lanka could get US$500mn from ADB in 2024

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka could receive 500 million US dollars in support from the Asian Development Bank in 2024 based on the progress of policy reforms, Country Director of the Manila-based lender, Takafumi Kadono said.

The ADB expect to go to its Board around March or April with a 100 million US dollar power sector loan subject to the cabinet of ministers of approving a revised electricity reform bill.

A 100 million dollar loan to support SMEs could also be approved in the early part of the year. Sri Lanka is setting up a credit guarantee agency to support credit for small firms.

A 200 million dollar credit for financial sector was also slated for the year. The ADB gave the first tranche of the financial sector policy loan late last year.

A $100mn for the water sector could also be approved later in the year.

Sri Lanka could get around 200 to 300 million US dollars a year at the lowest rate, or concessional ordinary capital resources (COL) rate of 2 percent.

The balance of would come at the ordinary capital resource rate linked to SOFR.

The ADB has also started work on a ‘Country Partnership Strategy’ for Sri Lanka covering the 2024-2028 period, Kadodo said. (Colombo/Feb25/2024)

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Sri Lanka’s multi-aligned foreign policy based on friendship: Min

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s multi-aligned foreign policy is based on friendship to all and enmity to none, its Minister of Foreign Affairs has said.

“Non-alignment means not becoming a bystander. Non-alignment means you are not forced or coerced into a camp to take sovereign decisions… you make your own choices. Whether it is commercial, security, regional or otherwise,” M U M Ali Sabry said on X (twitter).

“I have repeatedly stressed that sovereignty is the right to have your own opinion on what’s right and wrong, and to stand by your principles. Our multi-aligned foreign policy is based on friendship to all and enmity to none,” Sabry was quoting from his speech at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKI) Foreign Policy Forum, on the theme ‘Reassessing Non-Alignment in a Polarised World’.

Sri Lanka is one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement.

The strategically located island has been increasingly walking a fine line between opposing global factions as it seeks to come out of a financial crisis. (Colombo/Feb24/2024)

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Sri Lanka’s Commercial Bank Dec net down on tax provisions

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Commercial Bank of Ceylon reported profits of 6.9 billion rupees from the December 2023 quarter down 21 percent, despite an improvement in net interest income and lower provisions, amid a change in tax provisions.

Pre-tax profits were 8.89 billion rupees up from 2.4 billion rupees. There was a 6.4 billion tax reversal last year compared to a 1.7 billion rupee tax charge this year.

Commercial Bank reported earnings of 5.26 rupees for the quarter. For the year to December 2023 earnings were 16.07 rupees per share on total profits of 21.1 billion rupees, down 11.3 percent.

Net fee and commission income was down 1.2 percent to 6.1 billion rupees.

Net interest income went up 16.8 percent to 25.5 billion rupees, with interest income rising marginally by 1.3 percent to 73.0 billion rupees and interest expense falling 5.45 percent to 47.5 billion rupees.

Loans and advances to customers grew 4.06 percent to 1.17 billion rupees in the year to December. Debt and other financial instruments fell 10.5 percent to 649 billion rupees.

Financial assets measured and fair value through other comprehensive income was at 287 billion rupees, up from 117 billion rupees.

Impairment charges were 13.1 billion rupees, down from 19.6 billion rupees last year.

Gross assets were up 6.45 percent to 2.36 billion rupees. Net assets were up 5.51 percent to 214 billion rupees. (Colombo/Feb24/2024)

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